Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Unemployment

Food Banks Use Soars.

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Image result for food banks uk 2017

It’s hard not to notice a flurry of stories about Food Banks in recent days.

Appeal for baked beans as benefit changes sees demand for food banks soar.

THE Government has been criticised after a Somerset food bank made an urgent appeal for baked beans.

Ann Gibbs, coordinator of West Somerset Food Cupboard, says it has seen a huge rise in demand over the last year which has hit their stocks so hard they are running out of tinned beans and other non-perishable food.   She said: “These are families who can just about manage during term time, but are struggling to make ends meet while children are not at school.

“For the first time ever, we recently ran out of baked beans.”

Chard and Ilminster News.14th of August

 

Nottingham food bank sees ‘surge’ in donations after almost running out of stock

The centre says they saw “an upsurge in offers of help” after last week’s appeal.

One of the largest food banks in the city almost ran out of food last week – but it has now thanked the community after a surge of donations.

Mount Zion food bank, in Radford, was the busiest it had ever been due to the summer holidays increasing the number of families turning to them for help – a pattern seen across the city.

But now the centre says they saw “an upsurge in offers of help” after last week’s appeal.

Mount Zion Church is under particular strain because of its central location making it very popular, while it also lacks major local sponsors.

Nottingham Post 14th of August.

 

The rise of the working poor and food banks in our wealthy nation. How a Huddersfield food bank has seen a 17-fold increase in demand – and why.

Alan Clarke, head of European fixed income strategy at Scotiabank, is forecasting CPI to hit 2.8 per cent, driven in part by rising price tags on food.

He said: “Food price falls came to a fairly abrupt end in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, particularly on the back of the sharp fall in the GBP exchange rate.

“Indeed, food prices have risen for seven of the last eight months – with last month being the exception, showing a 0.2 per cent month-on-month fall.

“Overall, we view last month’s downward adjustment in inflation as temporary and the peak in inflation is yet to be reached.”

End the Benefit Freeze!

Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2017 at 10:29 am

NEET numbers increase , Mass Youth Unemployment Stays.

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IPT02 Matrix Facebook and LinkedIn v41

Apparently, well who would have guessed, all is not well for young people.

I particularly would not like to be an out of work young person.

The Financial Times reported this a couple of days ago,

More young Britons out of work and education

Neets who remain adrift of the system become increasingly unemployable.

The number of young people in Britain who spend long periods neither working nor studying has increased in the past year, according to a think-tank report. The total share of 16- to 24-year-olds who spent some time not in employment, education or training (Neets) declined last year, according to an analysis of Office for National Statistics data by the Learning and Work Institute think-tank, published on Wednesday. But the analysis showed that the percentage of young people who were Neet for a year or more rose from 9.8 per cent to 11.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the first quarter of last year.

Educated myself through FE’s – both ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels (part-time) I found the report published on the 3rd of August in this journal, Further Education News, particularly relevant.

For a start the article underlines this, “Nearly 2 million young people between 16-24 spent some time NEET last year. “

Without being too rude about those providing the courses for young people I hope they are not of the order we older unemployed lot have had to undergo, thanks to SEETEC and the other chancers in the ‘Unemployed business” and do some serious stuff at FE colleges. 

NEET numbers increase as progress on youth unemployment stalls

FE News.

Progress in tackling youth unemployment has ground to a halt with more young people spending over 12 months out of education, employment or training (NEET) raising concerns over the government’s approach.

Reductions in the headline figure of NEETs are cited by the government as evidence of its success in tackling youth unemployment with the latest quarterly figures claiming NEET levels at 800,000 (11.2%) – a 68,000 reduction on the same quarter last year.

But the latest Youth Jobs Index from Impetus-PEF reveals that the number of young people who are NEET for over a year has increased sharply since they reported the figure last year.

Commenting on the findings of the second Youth Jobs Index, Andy Ratcliffe, CEO of Impetus-PEF – a charity that finds, funds and builds the most promising charities working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them become stronger organisations, said:

“We’ve just come away from an election where the youth vote counted, but our findings show there are still crippling numbers of young people not in education, employment or training who aren’t being counted at all. The headline drop in the number of young people who are neither earning or learning next to the increase in the numbers who are enduring this for over a year, confirms that we have structural problem in Britain that has not gone away.”

Using data produced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the Labour Force Survey, (LFS) the Youth Jobs Index provides a detailed picture of young people’s experiences of being NEET. Unlike the LFS though, it tracks the progress of young people over time rather than giving a quarterly “snapshot”. This means that the index is better placed to track the duration that young people stay NEET.

And,

Nearly 2 million young people between 16-24 spent some time NEET last year. One in 10 young people (811,000) spent a year or more not in education or work, an increase from the 714,000 who spent more than 12 months NEET in the previous year.

The negative consequences of being long-term NEET are well known, with those affected experiencing poor mental and physical health and a reduction of £225,000 to their future earning potential.

The risk of being NEET varies depending on qualifications. Young people who fail to secure a Level 2 qualification are twice as likely to be long-term NEET. In contrast, for higher level qualifications there is only a 10 per cent risk of being NEET for six months and a 3 per cent risk of spending 12 months NEET.

Learning and Work Institute

Read more here.

These include  comments from the government which few will be arsed to read….

I have yet to find a Labour Party comment on this report.

Perhaps somebody can enlighten us about Labour policy.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Out of Work Face Sharply Declining Living Standards as Tories Punish Unemployed.

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Single Unemployed to only Get 35% of what they Need by 2020.

Jobseekers ‘face dip in living standards’ reports the BBC.

Before beginning this we note that the JSA benefit, with Employment and Support Allowance, some types of Housing Benefit, and Child Benefit is now frozen for four years.

This means that everybody on the main benefits for the out of work will suffer a declining living standard: the biggest cut in their incomes comes from the need to pay a percentage of Council Tax (the amount varies across the country), sharply rising public transport fares, the hikes in energy costs by the private monopolies, and the slow accumulation of debts that arise from having to pay for essentials (clothes to start with, household goods) that are not covered by  the miserly levels of benefits.

Today sees the publication of this report: Will the 2015 Summer Budget improve living standards in 2020?

“Donald Hirsch from Loughborough University, uses JRF’s Minimum Income Standard (MIS) to track how the living standards of low-income households will change by 2020. The report is based on what the public say is necessary for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.”

Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

One thing stands out to Ipswich Unemployed Action: it is acknowledged that the future looks even bleaker for the single unemployed:

A single person who claims out-of work benefits will get 35 per cent of what they need in 2020. This will mean they are £118 short per week, compared to £107 short in 2010 (41%) and £110 short (40%) today

That is without taking into account the impact of sanctions which affects hundreds of thousands of people (900,000 in 2014).

The BBC presents the report:

Out-of-work couples with children face “a decade of sharply declining living standards” owing to changes made to benefits, anti-poverty campaigners say.

A jobless couple with two children will be £221 short of what would be needed for an acceptable standard of living every week by 2020, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

Pensioners, in contrast, will have £15 more a week than the minimum level.

The calculations are based on JRF’s estimate of an acceptable income level.

Research for the Foundation suggested that families with two parents in full-time employment, workers without children, and pensioners would typically become better off over the next five years owing to the changes made in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget in July.

Lone parents and families with more than two children would see their living standards stagnate or fall, it claimed.

Major Budget announcements including the introduction of a National Living Wage and cuts to benefits such as tax credits would affect people’s finances over the coming years, it said.

“The summer Budget has transformed the relationship between pay, benefits and work incentives. The National Living Wage is a game changer for some on low incomes as the new, higher rate will make work pay for more people,” said Julia Unwin, the JRF’s chief executive.

“But the wage rise comes hand in hand with changes to in and out of work benefits. Families will only be able to make ends meet if they have two parents in full-time work, but those who are able to find extra work will face a difficult juggling act as they try and make longer hours fit around family life.

“Lone parents, even those working full time, and people who are searching for work face a decade of sharply declining living standards.”

Immediately after the Budget, the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said that 13 million UK families would lose £260 a year on average owing to the Budget’s tax and benefits changes.

The Guardian’s angle on the same story begins with the latter,

Single parents on low incomes face declining living standards over the next five years even if they work full time, as benefits cuts announced in the budget more than offset the introduction of George Osborne’s “national living wage”, according to new research.

….

Separate TUC research, also published on Monday, underlines the fact that despite the minimum wage rise, the biggest winners from the budget package will be the richest 10% of households, who it finds will be £780 a year better off by 2020, as a result of changes including inheritance tax cuts.

The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “We need a recovery that works for everyone, not just those at the top. But by cutting support for low paid families, despite a growing economy, the government is shutting them out of the recovery. And worse than that, it’s also giving rich households a tax break by taking support away from the low paid.”

More of the Guardian story here.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm

‘Boot’ – Camps for Young Unemployed.

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‘Work Coach’ for Young People. 

I am beginning to think that some of the contributors to this site are right to make comparisons with the 1930’s forced labour schemes.

Unemployed young people will be sent to work boot camp, says minister

Reports the Guardian today

Matt Hancock says plan for jobseekers between 18 and 21 to be placed on intensive activity programme is not a form of punishment.

“We are penalising nobody because nobody who does the right thing and plays by the rules will lose their benefits,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday. “In fact this is about giving more support to young people.”

The senior Conservative, who heads David Cameron’s earn or learn taskforce, will set out plans for jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 to be placed on an intensive activity programme within the first three weeks of submitting a claim.

The new requirements, outlined on Monday, will be in place by April 2017 as part of a wider policy, first announced by Cameron before the election, that jobless 18- to 21-year-olds would be required to do work experience as well as looking for jobs or face losing their benefits.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s criticised the plans, saying that young people needed to feel supported, not punished.

In a challenge to Labour, Hancock has now written to all four leadership candidates urging them to get behind the government’s plans.

…the leftwing frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn has explicitly said he would oppose the government’s move to take housing benefit away from 18- to 21-year-olds, while Andy Burnham has also been critical of the policy.

Responding to the announcement, a spokesman for the Corbyn campaign said: “This is another punitive turn by this Conservative government that is failing young people. They have cut further education places, driven a punitive welfare regime that has failed to reduce youth unemployment, and are raising university fees and taking away grants.

“As it takes away opportunities for young people to earn or learn, this government is blaming young people rather than addressing the real problems. It proposes more free labour from the young with fewer rights, and will be resisted by young people and Labour MPs.”

Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall have said welfare cuts need to be approached in a fairer, more Labour way.

Setting out his plans, Hancock suggested some young people were part of a “welfare culture that is embedded in some of Britain’s most vulnerable communities”.

He said: “By working across government to make sure that every young person is in work or training, by opening up three million more apprenticeships, expanding traineeships, and making sure that a life on benefits is simply not an option, we want to end rolling welfare dependency for good, so welfare dependency is no longer passed down the generations.

“We are absolutely committed to ending long-term youth unemployment and building a country for workers, where nobody is defined by birth and everyone can achieve their potential.”

The idea of boot camps for young people without jobs is not a new one. The Conservative party previously suggested it in 2008, when the then shadow welfare spokesman Chris Grayling announced that the party wanted to “abolish benefit payments for any able-bodied person under 21 who is out of work for more than three months”.

The Independent yesterday carried the initial floating of this plan.

Jobless young people will be made to attend “boot camps” in return for benefits as part of a new Conservative drive to bring a “no excuses” culture to youth employment.

Under the plan, anyone under 21 who is out of work and on benefits will have to take part in a three-week intensive course to help them find employment or training.

They will have to sign up to the programme within a month of claiming benefits – or see those benefits stopped.

The course, which ministers are provocatively describing as a “boot camp”, includes practising job applications and interview techniques. It is expected to take 71 hours to complete and benefits will be dependent on attendance.

Comment:

The Americanism (or cultural cringe to the US) ‘boot camp’ apparently means:

 boot camp

noun

NORTH AMERICAN
  1. a military training camp for new recruits, with very harsh discipline.
    • a prison for young offenders, run on military lines.
    • a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training.
      “a gruelling, late-summer boot camp for would-be football players”

But in fact the language the government and its toady Hancock use has a different origin: it  smells of the ‘get yer hair cut’ 1960s.

Or the kind of pervy old men who like ‘punishing’ youngsters.

We can say one thing for sure: the companies who’ll be running these ‘boot camps’ are some of the biggest chancers and failures in the country – as the evidence from successive New Deals, Work Programmes and all the rest indicates.

What will happen after this bogus ‘training’?

Will there be more forced ‘boot camps’?

Will young people be made to do workfare?

As said above, it looks like our contributors are onto something when they suggest that forced labour,  Zwangsarbeit, is not far off. 

You can vote on this via the ITV site: HERE.

Is it fair to send unemployed youngsters to work ‘boot camps’?
Yes – more needs to be done to get them into workNo – it’s a step too far
 Yes 71.32%  

 

No – it’s a step too far 28.68%  

Written by Andrew Coates

August 17, 2015 at 10:52 am

What the Budget Means for the Unemployed.

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Osborne: I don’t Care, My Family’s Doing Quite Nicely Thank You.

Some effects of the Budget on the out of work. (Guardian)

Single, no children. Unemployed

Base income: £3,801 2015-16 Jobseeker’s allowance rose to £73.10 (£57.90 if aged 16-24) in April, an increase of 70p a week or £36.40 a year compared with 2014-15. Housing benefit eligibility will depend on his property size and, if he rents, where he lives.

2016-17 His benefits are frozen, meaning his overall income neither increases nor decreases.

Except that with the price of basics unlikely to stay still until 2017 this means a cut in benefits.

A single person aged 24 with no children. He previously worked but is now receiving sickness benefits. He rents a housing association flat in Manchester for £70 per week

Base income: £8,952 2015-16 He receives £5,312 in employment and support allowance and housing benefit of £3,640. This gives a total income of £8,952.

2016-17 The 1% reduction in social housing rents means he now has to pay rent of £69.30. Housing benefit reduces to cover this amount. Other benefits are frozen meaning that he is no better or worse off.

Couple, both unemployed, three children, renting in Bristol £800pcm

Base income: £26,000 2015-16 They get combined total benefits of £26,000 – made up of jobseeker’s allowance, child tax credit, housing and child benefit. They would get £26,502 but this is over the maximum benefit cap of £26,000. In the case that one child is disabled, they get £32,507 and are unaffected by the cap.

2016-17 Lowering the maximum benefit cap means their benefits are limited to £20,000. Overall they will be £6,000 worse off. Where one of the children is disabled they are neither better or worse off due to the freeze in benefit rates.

18-21-year-olds to lose jobless benefits under ‘earn or learn’ scheme.

This is a real blow to the young unemployed: either do workfare or “learn” .

This does not mean going to college, unless you take out a loan:

University maintenance grants for lower income students in England and Wales are to be scrapped from September 2016, Chancellor George Osborne has said.

In his budget, Mr Osborne said the grants had become “unaffordable”. Mr Osborne also said tuition fees could rise with inflation, above £9,000, for those institutions which offer high-quality teaching from 2017-18. BBC.

As the Guardian says,

The tone of the chancellor’s strict carrot-and-stick approach was established by his planned “youth obligation” for 18 to 21-year-olds on universal credit, which he said would provide them with “an intensive regime of support from day one of their benefit claim”, from April 2017. At the same time, Osborne said housing benefit would no longer be automatically available for 18 to 21-year-olds.

There is also this:

The upmarket wallpaper firm Osborne & Little is claimed to have linked up with a corporation in the British Virgin Islands to turn its former headquarters in an expensive south London district into flats and houses. Once they had received planning permission for the site, Osborne & Little sold the site to its foreigner partner for £6,088,000. The deal was signed by Sir Peter Osborne, the Chancellor’s father. Details of the agreement, which emerged on the eve of the Budget, were disclosed in documents obtained by Channel 4 News. There is no suggestion that the Chancellor, or the family firm, avoided tax as a result of the deal. Independent. 

Unemployment a Mental Health Problem to Solve by “Psycho-Compulsion”?

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Panopticon:  Model for DWP ‘Mental Health’ Surveillance of Unemployed.

Hat-tip to Benefit Tales.

The BBC reports,

Unemployment is being “rebranded” by the government as a psychological disorder, a new study claims.

Those that do not exhibit a “positive” outlook must undergo “reprogramming” or face having their benefits cut, says the Wellcome Trust-backed report.

This can be “humiliating” for job seekers and does not help them find suitable work, the researchers say.

Positive affect as coercive strategy: conditionality, activation and the role of psychology in UK government workfare programmes. Lynne Friedli1, Robert Stearn2

From Medical Humanities.

Extracts:

The paper, ” focuses on the coercive uses of psychology in UK government workfare programmes: as an explanation for unemployment (people are unemployed because they have the wrong attitude or outlook) and as a means to achieve employability or ‘job readiness’ (possessing work-appropriate attitudes and beliefs). The discourse of psychological deficit has become an established feature of the UK policy literature on unemployment and social security and informs the growth of ‘psychological conditionality’—the requirement to demonstrate certain attitudes or attributes in order to receive benefits or other support, notably food.i In addition, positive affect is routinely imposed in workfare programmes via the content of mandatory training courses and through job centre or contractor ‘messaging’, for example, motivational tweets or daily positive emails to claimants”

This is interesting as well:

Psycho-compulsion

Psycho-compulsion, defined as the imposition of psychological explanations for unemployment, together with mandatory activities intended to modify beliefs, attitude, disposition or personality, has become a more and more central feature of activating the unemployed and hence of people’s experience of unemployment. There has been little debate about the recruitment of psychology—and, by implication, psychologists—into monitoring, modifying and punishing people who claim social security benefits47 ,48 or research into the impact of mandatory positive affect on an expanding range of ‘unproductive’ or failing citizens:16 those who are out of work, not working enough, not earning enough and/or failing to seek work with sufficient application.

This is of even  greater interest!

Boycott workfare: history of a campaign

While there is considerable evidence of this hardening of public attitudes towards benefit claimants, the value of mandatory unpaid work activity and enforced ‘volunteering’ is strongly contested. There are numerous campaigning and claimant solidarity groups in the UK and the rest of Europe whose activities are concentrated in this area. One is Boycott Workfare, which evolved through the work of people who have experienced workfare in the UK. Formed in 2010, it is a movement that campaigns against the imposition of forced, unpaid work on several levels: by taking action to expose the involvement of companies and other entities in taking or arranging placements or providing mandatory training, and by acting as a point of information for claimants and other claimants’ organisations:We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.67

Informing people of their rights means proposing a model of activity opposed to and subversive of the ‘activated’ welfare subject.

Undoing the legitimacy conferred on workfare, in part by its association with psychology, is a central concern of the campaign, as is counteracting the variously inflected negative stereotype of unemployed people. The ‘naming and shaming’ of organisations participating in workfare has led large numbers to withdraw and is a central factor in DWP efforts not to publish names of those involved. For example, the DWP argued (in appealing the Information Commissioner’s decision that they must publish the names of companies involved in Mandatory Work Activity) that making this information public “would have been likely to have led to the collapse of the […] scheme”.68,69 Concerns that mandatory placements undermine the meaning of volunteering have also led many voluntary agencies to sign a ‘keep volunteering voluntary’ agreement, undertaking not to take part in workfare schemes.70

As is the conclusion:

The participation of psychology and psychologists in the delivery of coercive goals in welfare reform clearly raises ethical questions.

Now comes the inevitable response (via the BBC):

The DWP said Friedli and Stearns’ report had no basis in fact and was just relying on anecdotal evidence from blogs and social media.

“We know that being unemployed can be a difficult time, which is why our Jobcentre staff put so much time and effort into supporting people back into work as quickly as possible,” said a DWP spokesman.

“We offer support through a range of schemes so that jobseekers have the skills and experience that today’s employers need.”

The government plans to place 350 psychologists in job centres by the end of the summer to help benefit claimants beat depression and get back into the jobs market.

Claimants will also be offered online cognitive behavioural therapy to boost their “employability”.

The DWP should get out of its comfort zone, end this unhealthy spiral of denial, and face up to its own cognitive and behavioural problems.

 

Two Million a Year to Have to Use Foodbanks if Tories Win.

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The Tory Future: An Endless Queue for Charity Food Banks.

Planned £12bn Tory welfare cuts will lead to two million a year using food banks, says study.

The number of people using food banks will double to more than two million a year under the Conservatives’ plans for £12bn of welfare cuts, an academic study by Oxford University suggests.

The research was seized on by Labour as evidence that David Cameron’s welfare cuts will have far-reaching consequences for family budgets, including eating into in-work benefits, if the Conservatives get back into power next week. On the Question Time leaders’ debate on Thursday, Mr Cameron said he did not want or had no plans to cut child benefit further – but Labour claims this does not mean he has ruled it out. The Prime Minister, asked about child benefit cuts on BBC Breakfast yesterday, again refused to rule it out.

Labour’s spokesperson on work and pensions, Rachel Reeves, told The Independent on Sunday that the Oxford University study was extremely worrying for families on low incomes, and claimed that Mr Cameron’s failure to rule out child benefit cuts suggested that they were on the table.

Last month, the Trussell Trust, the charity that provides parcels to food banks, revealed that visits had risen to over one million a year for the first time.

This is the ‘Big Society’ Cameron Promises.

Oxford academic Dr Rachel Loopstra’s research paper, entitled Austerity, Sanctions and the Rise of Food Banks in the UK, examined the relationship between benefit cuts and food bank demand. The study shows that food parcel distribution per head of population will rise by 0.16 percentage points for every 1 per cent annual cut in benefit spending.

This is the future: living on charity handouts from the Lord and Lady Bountifuls of the land.

Even in school: Schools feeding and clothing pupils, say heads

Head teachers are warning that schools are having to act like “mini-welfare states” in having to provide food, spare uniform and even to wash clothes and provide showers for some pupils.

The National Association of Head Teachers says such welfare support is costing £43.5m from school budgets.

Heads’ leader Russell Hobby said it was a “hidden national scandal”.

A Conservative spokesman said “the number of children living in poverty has fallen by 300,000”.

The warning from members of the NAHT, as they gather for their annual conference in Liverpool, is that schools are having to step in with welfare support for pupils, either because of poverty or dysfunctional families.

The union’s report, based on responses from more than 2,000 head teachers in England, found examples of schools supplying food, clothes, PE kit, headlice treatment, transport costs and equipment for lessons.

There were schools which now had facilities for washing clothes and providing showers for pupils.

We want rights not charity!

Vote to the Tory and Liberal Rabble Out!